The Blood Of The Lion

Day 24 - A Festivus For The Rest Of Us

The group heads out from the merchant sector in Castle Valoris and heads toward the festival area. They pass through the area where the walls are being set up to direct traffic and head through into the festival grounds. At the alleys, guards are stationed, but don’t appear to be managing who goes through so much as just watching for any general trouble. The group looks around for anything suspicious, heading toward the arena area so that Falx can sign up to fight.

They arrive at the arena and Falx looks into the sign-up sheet. He has the option to contest Lelouche and sign up to fight “Shadow” but decides to sign up against the other mysterious fighter known as “Horror”. He discusses his ideas about Horror’s fighting style with Lelouche, but they decide it would be unwise to start speculating based entirely on a name. Rye decides to scope out the area and finds that the general rules of the competition have been set up, but as she can’t read, she calls Lelouche over to explain them. Lelouche saunters over and re-iterates the rules to the group.

- Tier 3 fights occur on Day 1. In Tier 3 fights, magic users may take part but can only be placed against other magic users if they want to use magic within the arena.
- Tier 2 fights occur on Day 2. In Tier 2 fights, magic is allowed, but ritual scrolls are still forbidden and anyone caught with them will be disqualified and prosecuted.
- Tier 1 fights occur on Day 3.
- You may bring your own weapons and boffer covers will be available for them, or you can take one of the many boffer weapons already available from the field before the battle begins.
- Necromancy is not allowed anywhere within the city limits, including the arena

No specifics are posted about the Tier 1 battles and it strikes the group as odd that there is a distinct possibility the fighting table won’t result in a 1 on 1 fight. Lelouche and Falx also note that it would be incredibly difficult to identify when someone was using a scroll within the fight, and that it is possible their opponents will attempt to cheat.

Rye goes to check on the horses that will be used in the jousting tournament. The steeds are being taken on practice runs over the grounds to prepare them for the next day’s events. She watches as what she assumes are the squires of the participating knights take shots at each other and a few are knocked to the ground during testing. The jousting lances appear to be boffered to prevent any serious injury, though Rye assumes the next day the protection will be removed and she might see a serious injury or two. She laughs heartily as one of the squires takes a particularly nasty fall. He gets up and lifts his helmet face-guard to look over at her. He appears to be a bit embarrassed but shakes it off and continues his practice.

Lelouche leads the group around as they attempt to look for anything that looks suspicious around the festival grounds. The arena is populated mostly by people setting up the fencing and nothing seems out of the ordinary. The stands are being set up around the arena area , and the vendors are being set up nearby. Orik scans the rooftops and can see people hanging banners, but no one appears to be doing anything suspicious, particularly anything involving the launching mechanisms the resistance was using. There seem to be a fireworks display as well as the pyre area which is currently covered in a tarp and seemingly inaccessible.

Falx decides to head to The Lion’s Den to get some food and drink, and perhaps ask some of the locals about the festival. The group heads over and goes in. Falx, upon entering, recognizes that a man leaning on the wall at the front door rang a bell just inside the door as they approached. Falx makes a mental note to watch the man, but doesn’t say anything to him directly. Rye greets the man warmly before entering, and the man is receptive, welcoming them to The Lion’s Den. Rye attempts to stare him down but she is still wearing her dragon mask, so she just seems to creep him out. She asks him what he does at the bar, and he describes that he is one of the managers of the bar, and handles the money. While the bar is open, he sometimes helps out by greeting customers and answering questions. Rye rubs his cheek and he doesn’t seem to be comfortable with this, and she walks passed him into the bar, leaving him confused.

The group enter the tavern and find a loud and raucous scene. A large number of locals, some wearing their festival costumes and some in common clothes, are drinking and eating. The feeling inside is one of almost a party atmosphere. A minstrel group in the corner is playing an upbeat melody and some customers are singing along to what seems to be an old folk song. Mia and Myree are serving drinks at the bar while another man seems to assist them. Orik motions for everyone to take a seat, and the group sits.

Mia approaches to ask their order, but Orik walks her away privately and asks for her to bring twelve drinks to his table for “me and my friends”. She brings the drinks and Orik challenges the group to a friendly drinking competition. Orik comes back to the table and sits down, and a minute later Mia comes by with two large trays with mugs of ale and begins off-loading them onto the table for the group. She then rushes off after ensuring they had everything they needed.

After a number of very quickly consumed drinks, Orik begins slurring his speech and it seems he has become quite inebriated, seemingly having lost the game. He begins babbling to the others, telling them of his torrid history and why he is so adamantly hateful of dragons and dragonborn. His desire to hurt others is mostly an extension of his remaining hatred for what happened to everyone he loved. He explains that he has been observing his own behavior and wanted to apologize for some of his choices that have caused a strain on the group. He vows to try harder in the future to work in the interest of the group, because he considers them his friends. The group accepts his apology.

As the conversation ends, Falx notices something peculiar. An unassuming man in common clothes walks in and the bell at the front is not rang by the man out front. The man entering walks to the bar as Falx watches him silently. Mia notices the man and discreetly signals to the right side of the bar, and the man follows her lead. Walking back along the right wall, he opens a door and disappears inside, closing it behind him. Falx explains this to the group, and Lelouche begins to work out a plan to cast Invisibility and investigate the back room. Falx notes that although Lelouche does not have a great track record of investigating invisibly, he won’t stop him. He only suggests that Lelouche not light the bar on fire. Orik explains that he’ll cause a distraction, and Rye offers to help.

Lelouche ducks under the table and goes invisible. Rye rushes to the bar and lifts Orik up onto it before jumping on herself. They make an announcement that they are buying a round of drinks for everyone at the bar. The town-folk rejoice and a number of them crowd the bar dancing and singing while gathering their drinks. Lelouche sneaks past the crowd and waits by the door, hoping another mysterious visitor will be sent inside so that he can sneak in with them. Orik and Rye keep up the commotion for a while, celebrating with the townsfolk.

Mia and Myree are serving drinks quickly to all of the customers. Rye grabs Mia and pressures her to dance with her on the bar, managing to get her to dance a bit before stepping back down behind the bar. Mia takes to the prodding, pouring drinks into people’s mouths while Rye delightedly screams in celebration. Falx notices a young woman, seemingly a teenager, with a small messenger bag entering the bar without a bell. She seems to notice the commotion at the bar and sits down, watching the bar. Falx notices Mia spot the girl and she gets tense for a moment before continuing to serve drinks. Rye notices a change in atmosphere from this and decides to sit back down and let the commotion end naturally.

The girl with the messenger bag sits for a while until Mia walks to her as she is delivering drinks. Falx watches as Mia strolls passed the girl and discreetly says something to her that Falx can’t manage to hear over the music and conversation. Rye begins watching the scene as well after noticing Mia’s change when the girl entered.Rye and Orik sit back down with Falx and watch the girl in silence as she stands up and heads toward the bar. Myree gives the girl a nod and the girl approaches the door in the back right, unknowingly passing by Lelouche. After a moment, Lelouche hears a locking mechanism click within the door, and the girl pushes it open. Lelouche manages to slip inside just before the girl closes the door behind her.

Inside, Lelouche immediately notices that the room is a back closet with no exits other than the door they came in through, and no one else is inside, including the man Falx watched enter earlier. The girl waits for a moment until a clicking is heard again from the door, seemingly locking it behind her. Looking around, he sees that the room appears to be a storage area for food and casks of ale. Light from under the door they came in through allows enough vision for Lelouche to watch as the girl fumbles around in the dark, not lighting the nearby lantern on the wall, until she locates a sack labeled for potatoes. The girl lifts the sack, which pulls up a floorboard under it as well, and reveals a ladder heading down to a cellar. Lelouche watches as the girl climbs down the ladder into the darkness and then pulls the board back down onto the opening to hide it again, leaving him alone in the closet.

Back in the bar, a cloaked man enters without the bell ringing, but just sits down in the bar and doesn’t signal in any noticeable way to Mia or Myree. Falx sits and tries to figure out the purpose of the bell, but does not arrive at any conclusion. He decides to return to the subject in the future, when he has more information to work on. He continues to watch the man, regardless, as he is still waiting for Lelouche to return.

Lelouche waits about ten minutes, and slowly opens the floorboard hidden door and heads down the ladder. He closes the door behind him and looks down into the cellar to see a man approaching the ladder and staring in his direction. A few people behind the man also appear to be watching passed him in Lelouche’s direction. Recognizing that he is still invisible, Lelouche realizes they are watching the hidden door. Lelouche quietly scurries to the bottom of the ladder and side-steps, watching the man walk directly passed him and climb the first few feet of the ladder. The man climbs to the top of the ladder and places his ear to the ceiling, then pushes the trap door up and peers around, seemingly looking for someone on the other side. After a moment he comes back down and expresses wordlessly to the other people that he isn’t sure what just occurred, but he doesn’t seem worried.

Lelouche approaches close enough to the group of people to see them in the darkness and listen to them speak. The floor is covered in straw so he doesn’t get too close, worrying they might hear him approach. He fey-steps close, noting that he will have to wait a minute to use it again if he wishes to escape using it. The people don’t seem to notice, and they speak in a discussion they appear to be continuing from before he arrived. The man speaks first, saying that he doesn’t believe they are “compromised”.

Immediately, the discussion reaches the subject of an event occurring in two days, and Lelouche assumes this is a resistance meeting. Lelouche studies each member of the group. Two older men are seemingly leading the conversation. A woman in her late twenties is standing against a column, listening intently to the discussion. A frail, aging woman is discussing that she hasn’t heard any rumors about their actions, so they are still safe to plan. The young girl with the messenger bag discusses seeing “her”, but not specifying who she is talking about. The discussion quickly shifts to what appears to be a talk about capturing this mystery woman, and it is unclear whether they mean to kidnap or rescue her, or a mixture of the two.

Lelouche attempts to recognize the members of the group, but none were present during the attack in the streets as far as he can tell. He listens as they describe that they don’t currently have a working plan to get their target away from the guards, and that she always has a large escort. Some of the people discuss the possibility of launching their target using the roof pneumatic machines from before, but the risk of breaking the woman’s neck is brought up as a potential risk and that is decided as unacceptable. The people discuss the possibility of the woman fighting them, or not allowing them to take her, and it is brought up that she doesn’t know their motives or who they are, so she might be a problem herself. There is a very subtle mention to the woman who has otherwise been silent in the room, but the man who seems to be leading the conversation directs any discussion of her away, citing that “If we have any hope of succeeding, our leader must remain completely anonymous, even to our target. Is that clear?”. The discussion hushes for a moment.

As the people begin speaking again, they seem to reach the conclusion that they are ill-prepared for the event, and therefore the possibility of delaying it must be raised. The young girl asks “If we delay, how long does she have?” before the woman who has stayed silent finally speaks up. “If we do not complete our task in two days, she has a week at the most. Word will get out, and when it does our task will quickly go from difficult to impossible.”. The discussion quickly delves into some more desperate attempts at ideas. Lighting fires or creating fights across town to divert guards are both brought up, but dismissed as they are not willing to purposely sacrifice members or endanger the public, especially since “it would most certainly not divert the guards that would be around the target. If anything, it will only make things more difficult.”.

After a while of listening, the meeting seems to be ending. Lelouche Fey-Steps back under the table upstairs and comes out unnoticed by the rest of the bar. He immediately tells the group that it might be time to leave, and directs them out of the bar. They head across the road to the nearby inn and check into their rooms, momentarily joining Lelouche in his so that he can go over what he witnessed in the cellar. Falx discusses the possibility of the target woman being someone they witnessed close to Zaveir, but the group can’t think of anyone. Rye jokingly refers to herself as potentially the target, but Falx mostly ignores her. Falx expresses confidence that the resistance is trying to extract someone, potentially someone with information, even perhaps someone under cover. Orik suggests it might be a kidnap for ransom of some sort, but Falx doesn’t believe that’s the case.

The group decide to head to sleep and discuss any ideas that come to them in the morning. Orik wakes up in a cold sweat with his hand burning from his ring after he witnesses the fourth vision of the ring. He immediately recognizes that he can recall the first three visions even though he remembers that Jansen had them before. It appears the ring has taken hold of him in a way, and he attempts to smash it against the ground for a minute before he gives up. He shouts profanity at the ring to no effect. Falx hears this from the next room over but dismisses any strange sounds coming from Orik’s room as if it were ordinary.

The group meet back up in the dining hall of the inn and get breakfast as they discuss their plans for the day. Music can be heard from the streets as people head toward the festival grounds nearby. After they finish eating, the group heads out and into the festival, heading directly passed the parade line and to the arena. Orik looks for his opponent in order to possibly start his battle early, and the group dons their individual costumes before approaching. Orik finds Walfred in the arena area and greets him. Walfred agrees with him on starting the battle early, and they inform the organizers that they are both ready. The tier 3 arena is cleared, and Orik and Walfred enter in while being announced. Rye heads to a shop and returns with a golden dragon mask to replace her pink mask. She takes the pink mask and places it onto an unmasked child’s head. He looks confused for a moment but when it becomes clear that it is a gift, he thanks her and runs off.

Falx checks the schedule as the fight is being set up, and sees that the official parade occurs at noon on all three days (though the walk is always moving with ordinary citizens taking part), and that the pyre is burned at sunset on the third day. Every other event, from games of chance to shops to magic acts to low-tier arena fights, are occurring non-stop for all three days all over the festival. He looks into the prize list which has been posted, and sees that it is a list of prizes that the winner will choose from.

- – Handy Haversack
- – +2 Wand of Witchfire
- – Circlet of Authority
- – Helm of Battle
- – Manor inside Castle Valoris
- – 4000gp prize
- – Bracers of Defense
- – +2 Wand of Shield
- – +2 Staff of Winter
- – Symbol of Victory
- – +2 Resounding Weapon
- – 5 Potions of Vitality
- – Noble’s Cape : http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Noble%27s_Cape_(4e_Equipment)

Lelouche, Rye, and Falx decide to sit up on the stands, finding a seat around 60 feet from the arena with a good view of the battle area. Orik is announced as “The Blue Spirit” and faces off against Walfred in the arena. Neither get too much applause, which the group assumes is because Walfred is from the Western Bank and Orik is an unheard of contender. Orik grabs a boffered two-handed longsword from the weapons rack and manages a close fight and ultimate victory over Walfred to thunderous applause. Walfred congratulates Orik, explaining that he wasn’t expecting such an impressive adversary this early, and he appreciated the challenge. Orik hides a smile behind his mask, pleased at having secretly gotten revenge on Walfred for imprisoning him weeks earlier.

Rye leaves the stands and Orik takes her seat. She approaches the arena’s meeting place for contestants and looks for her opponent, “The Traveler”. The figure is dressed in wrapped robes and wearing a conical hat with their face covered, and responds to Rye’s greeting by asking if she is their opponent. On their side are long strands of tough fabric with what appear to be boffered orbs on the ends, a weapon she doesn’t recognize. Rye responds, confirming they are to fight each other, and the figure removes the cloth covering their face. Lelouche feels his ring signal to him that a spell has been cast nearby, and looks around the arena for who might have cast it, but doesn’t seem to spot anyone. The man reveals his face and greets Rye from under the cloth, and Rye removes her mask as well, lifting it over her head for a moment. The man’s face quickly flashes to an expression that Rye realizes indicates he recognizes her, but he returns to normal and he says hello before re-covering his face and turning to the field. Rye places her mask back on her head and turns to the field as well, entering and placing a boffer cover over her weapons before the match begins.

The drums signal the match to begin, and The Traveler springs forward, swinging his weapons around his head methodically as he approaches Rye. The swinging weapons create an area around the fighter that make it difficult to approach, so Rye attempts to rush in under the swings. After a few attempts and a couple good hits, The Traveler looks surprised at Rye’s tenacity and unleashes a flurry of attacks. Instead of attempting to hurt Rye, it seems the fighter’s abilities are centered around disabling her and rendering her unable to fight using chi moves like a Monk. The long fabric weapons surround Rye and cause her to become tangled. During the fight, a mysterious wind blows over the field which at one point gets sand in Rye’s eyes. She yells to the group to investigate this from the stands, but Lelouche can’t discern what purpose the wind would have, since it would affect both fighters the same. In addition, he can’t feel any spells being cast through his ring, though he chalks that up to Rye and The Traveler being outside of the ring’s range. The group watches as Rye is soundly defeated at the end, forcing the battle to end through her being unable to fight after being fully wrapped up. Rye has the wraps removed by nearby squires after the battle is announced to be over, and the whole time she is giving the finger to The Traveler and shouting profanities. The Traveler doesn’t seem to notice as he walks out of the arena grounds.

300 EXP from role-playing = 300 EXP total (20400 EXP total)

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Korberos

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